How to best insure gift cards with USPS, FedEx, and UPS

Sending gift cards is a great way to reward or reimburse family, friends, or customers. Whether it is for the holidays, a special occasion, or any other reason. Though, unlike digital transfers or credits, a gift card can be lost, misplaced, or misdelivered. And there is often no way to recover it.

None of the major shipping carriers provide any insurance against lost or damaged gift cards.

The best way to protect a gift card is to:

  1. Check the terms of the gift card before making the purchase to see if there are any options to replace the card. 
  2. Save the purchase receipt.
  3. Note the card number and pin before sending it. Be sure to keep this information in a secure location.

With a wise purchase decision and proof of purchase, you may have options in the event that the card winds up missing. If that happens, your best bet is to contact the card issuer to determine your options.

Carrier policies for shipping gift cards

  • USPS: USPS provides mailing services for gift cards. They even have a Priority Mail Flat Rate box specifically designed for them. However, they will not reimburse or insure them. The USPS Postal Explorer, under section 4.3 for Non payable Claims, notes:
    Indemnity is not paid for insured mail (including Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail), Registered Mail, COD, or Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express in these situations: ... z. Lottery tickets, sweepstakes tickets, contest entries, gift cards, and similar items.
  • UPS: UPS will mail gift cards, but does not reimburse or insure them. The UPS Terms and Conditions say:
    UPS’s liability for a Shipment containing a phonecard, ticket (such as event or airline ticket), gift certificate, gift card, coupon, or other similar printed matter with an exchange value is limited to the cost (which shall not include any amount of the value attached to the card, certificate, or coupon, or similar printed matter) of replacing the physical card(s), certificate(s), or printed matter, not to exceed $100 per Package or per pallet. In no event shall UPS be liable for the face value of any phone card, ticket, gift certificate, gift card, coupon, or similar printed matter.
  • FedEx: FedEx will mail gift cards as long as their declared value is less than $1000. However, they are clear that declaring the value does not constitute insurance coverage. The FedEx Service Guide states:
    The declared value of any shipment represents our maximum liability in connection with a shipment ... The shipper should contact an insurance agent or broker if insurance coverage is desired. FEDEX DOES NOT PROVIDE INSURANCE COVERAGE OF ANY KIND.

Bottom line - if you ship a gift card, make sure you know the risks you are taking!


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